Many companies hear branding or brand building and automatically associate that with high-cost services that lack concrete deliverables. It’s a fair connection. It happens. But it doesn’t have to. The truth is companies can start making a positive impact on their brand on their own, with a healthy dose of honesty….with a little brand self-awareness.
Often times branding work isn’t really building anything new, rather it’s helping companies cultivate something they already have. Building Brand Self-Awareness is just as important as building Brand Awareness. In fact, the latter relies on the former.
So, how might a company go about building Brand Self-Awareness? Glad you asked, er, glad I wrote that you asked.
The first step is always admitting you have a problem. Or, in this case, a brand.
Sure, you have a company, you have a business, but you also have a brand. It’s how people perceive your business. It’s the promises you make and keep or make and break. It’s what folks think when they hear the name of your company, see your logo, meet your people. It’s even what your employees think of the place they work. Consider that for a moment.
You have a brand. Deal with it. Even better, embrace it.
Step 2: Dream Big
Get a mix of individuals together within your company – leaders, veterans, new hires – and play the “if I had a million dollars game.” Only for this exercise replace “a million dollars” with “a brand.”
“If I had a brand I would want it to be like this….”
Document the characteristics that people throw out. They will likely be quite human and they should be. If teams see and share a common vision for the brand they can help establish they’re more likely to invest the work it requires to solidify it.
Step 3: Connect the Dots
If you were to be brutally honest with yourselves where would you say your brand is now in relation to your dream brand? Do you walk the talk? Are you showing your true colors? Is your team kind and charismatic and fun in person but your website and marketing materials read like the Encyclopedia Britannica?
Connect the dots, draw the path, between where you are and where you want to be as a brand. How do you start taking on the role of that dream brand? Evaluate the following and for each section honestly rate yourself on how well each aligns with your dream brand – “Good to Go” or “Doesn’t Fit.”
Brand perception is sensory and though it isn’t one of any of the following each make up a piece of the pie.
How do you sound?
- Company manifesto/mission
- Website copy
- Marketing Copy
How do you act?
- Industry affiliations and memberships
- Participation in Conferences and Events
- Social media activity/platforms
- Community Involvement
- Internal Buy-in – Are your employees eager to help carry the flag?
How do you look?
Just like your parents taught you when you were a kid (hopefully), be yourself. Being a brand is no different. It requires honest self-awareness and work.
Have a story about a brand becoming self-aware and blossoming? Share it with us in the comments below.
Photo credit: Nicki Dugan
Modified by Shout Out Studio